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This model fixes cars as well as stand by them

June 05, 2005|by JASON STEIN/ Wheelbase Communications

It's not often that you'll find a 20-something, brown-eyed, blonde-haired woman in a garage leaning over a Mitsubishi Eclipse installing a DC Sports header to complement the rest of her Magnaflow exhaust system.

Of course, Courtney Day can also tell you how those parts will give her Eclipse motor plenty of free-breathing power on the intake side of her naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

Say what?

And then, after loosening the clamp holding the stock intake assembly to the throttle body, Courtney can get busy removing the factory air tubing.

Huh?

Day knows what all that means . . . and can do it.

"I just love fixing cars," she said in a recent interview with StreetSource Magazine, an aftermarket "tuner" publication.

But that's only the tip of what is a very interesting iceberg.

If you've never heard of model Courtney Day, you will.

She's becoming the latest sensation in aftermarket performance upgrades. From the pages of Import Tuner magazine to her 3-Dimensional role as a character in the racing video game Street Racing Syndicate to the featured model at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association. (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Nev., she's everywhere.

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In the last year alone, Day has been on 18 different automotive programs, attended 36 different trade shows and graced the pages of too many Web sites and car magazine covers to count.

But she's more than just another pretty face.

As part of her affiliation with the California street scene, Day does a lot of her own work that's showcased in sport-compact magazines and Web sites around the world.

And it's no snow job.

She can talk about how she dropped "18s with some other minor mods" on her last Mitsubishi (translation: added 18-inch wheels and tires, with some minor modifications). Or how she added hoodsquirts, stakeholes and molded sideskirts on her new Eclipse, as well as AEM Cams, brake kit and Torque 5 wheels.

The language is a culture unto itself.

"I wanna get my car kitted and layed out on 19s," she says.

And you don't have to know what it means to get the picture.

So how did a kid from the San Diego suburb of Ramona make it to the point where numerous Internet chat rooms have been devoted to her existence?

Day says her boyfriend got her into the sport-compact scene - made up of modified Acura Integras, Volkswagen Jettas, Nissan 350Z cars and the like - which led to some modeling opportunities, sponsorships and other appearances.

Day was connected with California car crafter Tom Ngo from a San Diego performance outfit, called The Hook Up Shop, and the rest was history.

"After going to some (car) shows, I got hooked and just got an Eclipse to start fixing up," Day told StreetSource. "I am not going to claim that I am some hard-core tuner girl. But I do have my own ideas and plans."

Day didn't even really anticipate being where she is now, replacing parts on her vehicle, and other vehicles, and having those segments broadcast around the world on specialty automotive TV channels.

"If you would have asked me this a year ago, I would have laughed at the word 'career,'" she told Importnc.com, a tuner Web site. "At first, I was just doing this for fun. But it worked out great because I was already into the cars and the import scene. I know some people have looked down on modeling in the import scene, but this has honestly opened up so many doors for me and allowed me to venture off into other things, like fashion and glamour. Now I can honestly say this has actually been a career for me."

For now she says she'll stay in Southern California.

The import modeling scene is working out well. She'll have a large role at the SEMA show in November and will continue to look for aftermarket sponsorships and automotive modeling opportunities.

And, by the way, she's still just 21 and dreaming of her next ride to modify.

"A BMW M3. I love 'em!" she says. "Mine would probably be black, with all the major mods like a widebody kit, 19s or 20s, performance suspension and brakes, custom audio and video. Ya know, the works."

Jason Stein is a feature writer with Wheelbase Communications. He can be reached on the Web at: www.wheelbase.ws/mailbag.html.

Copyright 2005, Wheelbase Communications

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